Archives: Voices

Groups oppose deep cuts to IRS, an end to Direct File 

Ahead of last week’s House Appropriations Committee consideration of the FY25 2025 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) bill, nearly 100 groups wrote leading House appropriators in opposition to a proposal that could cut funding for the IRS by billions of dollars and end the popular Direct File project, which allows some taxpayers to file quickly, easily, and for free. 

CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, June 14, 2024

The Children’s Week Edition. This week is Children’s Week, with two important sets of events focused on children. First Focus on Children sponsored or co-hosted events aimed at protecting the health, safety, and well-being of America’s children. Topics covered this week included the benefits of expanding the Child Tax Credit, addressing youth homelessness, raising the voices of dads in setting child policy, improving the conditions of children and families in Puerto Rico, and reducing the dangers of lead exposure for children. 

Drug overdose dilemmas: Fewer fatalities — but more total overdoses and racial disparities 

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of fatal drug overdoses in 2023 showed a 3 percent decrease from 2022, from 111,029 to 107,543. That 3,486 fewer people died from overdoses is good news. But how good? Is this single statistic a sign of widespread success in our national efforts to reverse and reduce our drug epidemic? A recent New York Times article asked “Has fentanyl peaked?” Has it? Are there fewer fatal overdoses because people with substance use disorder are using less?

The Census counts everyone. So why shouldn’t everyone be counted?

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau seeks to count every person living in the United States. The census counts adults and children; voters, people not registered to vote, and people who cannot vote; people of all races, genders, and religions; rich people and poor people; and people living in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., U.S. territories, and on American Indian reservations. And it counts everyone residing in the United States (which excludes people visiting from other countries for tourism or business trips), whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, June 3, 2024

The tax scam edition. In 2025, a massive debate over taxes will be upon us. The outcome of the debate will determine whether the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations will pay their fair share – and whether our federal government will have the resources it needs to fund programs that address crucial human needs. 

Advocates hail Biden Administration decision to expand and make IRS Direct File permanent 

The IRS announced this week that it will both make permanent and expand Direct File, which this year for the first time enabled 140,000 filers in 12 pilot states to file their taxes quickly, easily, and, most important, for free. The announcement stated that all 50 states plus Washington D.C. will be invited to participate in the program.

I got help. Now I give back. That’s how a healthy society should work.

Life is unpredictable. And sometimes, no matter how hard you work, life throws curve balls that hit you in the gut. That’s what our tax dollars are supposed to be for — a helping hand when we’re most in need. More than once in my life, the social safety net came through for my family. And thanks to that help, we’re able to give back today.

Advocates for Older Americans Tell Congress: Don’t Cut SNAP’s Thrifty Food Plan 

Three dozen groups advocating for older Americans this week delivered a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees expressing concern about possible cuts to SNAP. Advocates delivered the letter  as the House Agriculture Committee prepared  to begin their Thursday markup of the Farm Bill, which policy experts say could cut nearly $30 billion from SNAP over a 10-year period.

Coalition on Human Needs: House Farm Bill is a cruel and inhumane blueprint for increasing hunger in America 

If the Farm Bill to be considered in the House Committee on Agriculture on May 23 becomes law, it will mean a cut of nearly $30 billion in SNAP benefits over a decade. Such cuts are unconscionable. For many children, they will make learning more difficult and lead to negative health outcomes. They will force families to choose between putting food on the table and paying for other expenses such as rent, utility bills, or prescription drugs. They will also harm our economy, removing the stimulative benefits of SNAP and even hurting farmers and ranchers along the way. 

CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, May 20, 2024

The tale of two farm bills edition. One of the most important jobs Congress must accomplish during its remaining time before final adjournment is passage of the 2024 Farm Bill. This legislation – which is scheduled to be renewed every five years – is of utmost importance to human needs advocates because it sets policies and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s most important and effective tool for fighting hunger. 

A celebration of the Supreme Court decision in favor of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by CHN’s Executive Director Deborah Weinstein

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been fighting effectively against the old saying, “the poor pay more.” So the Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision against a suit brought by the payday loan trade association is really a cause for celebration. CFPB has reined in many fees and overcharges that disproportionately hit people with low incomes, saving consumers billions of dollars.